Children are prone to having accidents. And generally speaking, we don’t want to stop all chance of them having those accidents, because that’s how they learn to move and interact with the world around them. However, we also want to keep them safe from serious harm, and that’s where these first aid tips come in.

Tip 1: Take a child-specific first aid course

Children’s physiology differs in a number of ways from adults – their bones are generally more supple, their lungs are smaller, their immune systems less developed. This means that many first aid procedures that work well on adults need to be modified before they’re safe for use on children. A first aid course that focuses on children and babies can teach you these modified procedures.

Tip 2: Update your first aid supplies

Injuries often seem to come in clumps. All will be quiet for months or years, and then suddenly every child is falling into table corners, dropping out of trees with broken bones, and wandering up to you with blood flowing out of multiple scrapes. Designate a day at least once a year to check your first aid supplies for damaged, expired, and almost-empty products.

Tip 3: Keep a first aid kit with you

It’s all very well to have a first aid kit, but it’s useless if you can’t find it or if you’re nowhere near it at the time of injury. Buy or put together a small first aid kit that you can carry in a shoulder bag, and keep one in the car too.

Tip 4: Ice packs are a great resource

A lot of the cheaper first aid kit packages won’t include them, but ice packs can be absolutely invaluable. They can be used to limit swelling on a sprain, minimise bruising, and can act as a light drug-free pain relief. Keep a few, of varying sizes, in the freezer. Most chemists also stock single-use cold packs that you hit or crush to set off a chemical reaction and freeze the inside – these are great for on-the-go kits.

Tip 5: Don’t forget heat packs

Like ice packs, heat packs are a useful component in any first aid kit – but might not be included in one as standard. Many packs can be used either cold or hot; just check your supplies to know which are which. Single-use heat packs are great for muscle pain, shock, and hypothermia.

Tip 6: Lollies

Occasionally a quick supply of sugar can be very handy to have around, especially if you have any insulin-dependent people in the family or circle of friends. If you find that your first aid supply is always being raided, try buying a less-palatable option. Hard mints or black jelly beans might be less appealing.

Tip 7: Vinegar

Being mildly acidic, vinegar is one of the best low-tech options for decreasing pain and itching from insect bites and marine stings. It works by deactivating the chemicals that nerves are reacting to. For best results, apply as soon as possible after the bite or sting is received.

Tip 8: Sunscreen

It might not seem like a ‘first aid’ tool, but having sunscreen on hand can be a powerful preventative of sunburn and associated injuries and illnesses. Keep a tube in every first aid kit to make sure it’s always available.

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